I woke up yesterday full of excitement and anticipation because I knew that today I would get to see an old friend, Tim Foster, who I hadn’t seen since November. It was also the day of Lou’s monthly WDW Radio Meet, and I was quite joyful to be a part of his group once again. Craig and I were going without the kids, so we got ready and headed out towards Studios, probably even more giddy we had time alone together as well.
Studios was alive with the sounds of Brazilians… here a Brazilian, there a Brazilian… seriously it was like a twisted Dr. Seuess tale. Not only do they carry flags, but they carry this balloon type marker as well, so it just looks ridiculous above the crowds- I guess that’s the point. I took the picture below at rope drop around 8:55 a.m. yesterday- it was insane the amount of them there were. I hear they used to be here only at certain times of the year, now they come any time. My best advice, if you see them coming, walk the other way- they will make waiting in line worse than it already is. (Of course if you like singing and clapping loudly in another language, follow them!)
After avoiding their direction and heading to Star Tours instead, we walked right on with the droves of other visitors and even got to use the FP lane to help move the foot traffic along. We enjoyed the first row, and went to the Wookie Planet while seeing Princess Lea. We walked off to find our friend Beatrice, who is SUCH a doll, and our friends, Ken and Anthony. We headed over to the Great Movie Ride where we got the Western scene, instead of the Gangster scene, which was a first for Craig and I. I enjoyed giggling with Beatrice on it, and we gave all our enthusiasm to the ride- as much as humanly possible.
We headed out after to Starring Rolls, which is a little bakery in Studios, located on one of the corners. The Meet was being held here, and of course in Lou style, it was near food and it was hot. A gal gave him a hard time because they never seem to be indoors where the a/c is a gift from God, but we all sucked it up because they are just too much fun, heat or not. My first hug was for Mr. Tim Foster himself, who I was so happy to see again. He, and Lou, are true inspirations to me, and I can only hope to write as well as they do some day. P.S. I finally earned my WDW Radio T-Shirt!
If you haven’t been to a Meet before, it is basically what it sounds. Lou picks a place for everyone to meet and you can grab something to drink or eat at where the Meet is being held, at your own cost, and then relax and meet other Disney fans and friends. Lou and Tim both signed autographs yesterday, so I am sure they would be honored and willing to sign trivia books and Celebration magazines if you would so desire them too. They are a great group of people who love to chat about their love of Disney, and food, and are available for pictures as well. Having gotten to know them now, the celebrities they still are in our eyes, have now become good friends of mine- which still blows my mind that I even KNOW these awesome people.
That being said, as I made my way around the room and met more wonderful people, it was the next 3 people I was introduced too that made my heart jump with joy. First, I met Ron Cohee, a Disney Animator who has worked on movies like Mulan and is now working on Vinylmation and other Disney projects. I was seriously in awe of this man- I was meeting a real life Imagineer and I couldn’t have been more happy at that moment. The kicker was that he had HEARD and READ our blog- seriously you could have knocked me over with a feather. There were no words, I just felt so honored and overjoyed to be speaking with someone who had done such amazing works of art for Disney. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind meeting my husband, so I introduced him to Craig, and they chatted with another friend, Dave, for awhile.
As I left Cloud 9 from that conversation, my good friend Anthony asked me if I had met Steve and Vickie Barrett. I said “No!” I knew who they were and I was like a little kid on Christmas morning- they were Santa, especially Steve, and I had always loved the Hidden Mickey books and what he does. I was introduced to Vickie, who I instantly loved- what an awesome lady, and then I met THE Steve Barrett- Mr. Hidden Mickey himself. Honestly the first thing I thought was “Emily is going to kill me” because she loved hunting for hidden Mickeys everywhere and always wanted to meet him. He was so nice and so easy to talk to that he instantly made me feel like we had been friends before meeting. He had also heard of the blog and our move, and I was blown away by such an upstanding Disney person knowing who we were and enough to care to ask about it. I had a great time with him, and I hope to see them both again soon.
After a sweaty and memorable Meet, the remaining Disney peeps headed to Star Tours for a ride together. Tim Foster hadn’t been on the new one yet, so I was excited to ride it with him for the first time. My good friend, Mike Beckerman, had been on the ride about 30 times and never got the Pod Racing scene… until yesterday! The rebel spy on board was Shane, who was in our group, so we cheered, and then when went pod racing, we cheered even louder for Mike because we knew he would be happy to have finally gotten to see it. All in all, great ride with great friends.
Craig and I headed out of the Park with Beatrice, said our goodbyes, and ran into a CM from WI. It was nice to chat with someone who knew our old stomping grounds and to hear what he liked and didn’t like about FL since moving here 9 years ago. We shook his hand and was happy to have made another CM friend, then headed out to the hot car to head home- did I mention it’s a 5 minute drive?
After some Excederin, soup, and a nap, I was feeling recharged for the day that still lay ahead. Someone informed me that there would be a fly-over at the Magic Kingdom yesterday for the family who was getting home makeover for the show “Extreme Makeover- Home Edition.” I was not only geeked to see the family, and possibly a celebrity, but to also see fighter jets coming over the Castle and Main Street would be AMAZING! So I headed into the Magic Kingdom for some magic!
After being kicked out of several primo spots for the parade and fighter jets, and meeting Kevin Yee, another awesome Disney Celeb, we booked it up to the Train Station, 2nd floor, to get a somewhat view of everything going on. They had it roped off for the elite Disney Personal along with an Airforce Person who was in direct contact with the fighter jets.
We watched as the parade came down Main Street with the family, and then dropped them off to the Main Hub area by the flag pole. They had the flag ceremony, and as they lowered it, the “Voices of Liberty “ belted out “God Bless America” as we all sang along. It was quite emotional, especially with all the service men they had in the parade as well. Ty and Michelle Obama had taped messages for the family, and it was neat to watch them watch these emotional videos. The Mother was handed a flag that was given to her by Michelle Obama, not there of course, and had other messages as well for her hard work in the Service and for helping shelter homeless Veterans. I wasn’t able to hear the entire story, as where we were standing muffled the sound somewhat, so if I have any of the story wrong, please let me know. I was so happy for her and her family standing there, it was hard to not get emotional for them. The finale was the fighter jets coming over the Castle, down Main Street, and over the Train Station. The sound after they passes over us was amazing and the tears just flowed at how cool the entire experience was.
I headed down to get closer to the family who were still in the hub, shortly after all the excitement died down. Sabrina Soto, a host of Makeover and her own show on HGTV, was standing there and I asked if I could take her pic. She said “Wouldn’t you like to be in it?” I said “Even better!” So I got to chat with her and get a pic! Then the Mom of the family was close enough to the rope that I asked her if I could shake her hand- she said “Of course.” I said “Thank you for everything you do, and enjoy this moment.” She responded “How kind of you, thank you for saying that.” It was just nice to connect, even the small moment it was, to a family who is so deserving of what they are getting. Yes, I don’t know them, probably never will- but if a random stranger came up to me and thanked me for what I am most proud of in my life, I would be touched and happy for a stranger to even care or bother. Treat those as you would like to be treated.
After an amazing evening at MK, I headed to the Caran household for Tom’s Birthday Party. After some good food and some wrestling on the tube, I headed home for bed. In those times of quiet, in my car alone most of these days, I thank God for the blessings in my life that have come in the souls of the new and old friends I have made here. I get home sick still, I don’t think it will ever go away, but making plans with my friends here help heal that pain that only time and family can truly make better ever again. Craig’s mom visits this week, Peter goes back to WI tonight, and we have a little piece of time here that once again, the Petermann four are just that.
I wrote this blog by the pool this morning, watching my Emily brave going under water, over and over again, and that alone made my morning special. Have a great day everyone!